Christchurch, New Zealand: Sahara Force India Academy Racer Jehan Daruvala, has begun his 2017 in the best possible way, as he grabbed the first two pole positions of the season and went on to break the circuit record for the Toyota Racing Series Cars in Christchurch, New Zealand.
The eighteen year old Mumbai student was quick throughout practice amongst a competitive grid of 20 cars which also includes home favourite and Ferrari Academy Racer – Marcus Armstrong, RedBull Academy Racer – Richard Verschoor, Pedro Piquet – Son of Former F1 World Champion, Nelson Piquet and many more highly accomplished racers from all over the world.
Jehan dominated the first qualifying session and bagged pole position for race 1 with a laptime of 1:17.424 around the 3.33km Ruapuna Park Circuit. Marcus Armstrong was right behind Jehan 0.158 seconds adrift. Austrian racer Ferdinand Habsburg was third.
Qualifying session 2 was a far closer affair as Jehan once again bagged pole for Race 3 & broke the circuit record as well. (Race 2 starting positions are based on the reverse grid of Race 1 finish). This time however Marcus was a lot closer, being just one thousandth of a second slower than Jehan. British racer Enaam Ahmed was third, also within just one tenth of a second of Jehan. Jehan’s laptime of 1:16.800 was well under the earlier record of 1:17.062
Race 1 saw Jehan start well from his pole position slot upfront. He pulled away and soon opened up a comfortable gap of over one second to maintain his lead without any challenges from behind. A safety car period soon ensued and during the restart down the extremely long start finish straight, Marcus who was right behind Jehan took advantage of the excellent slip stream. Jehan could unfortunately do nothing about the situation, as in such a case, the car behind was able to build up a lot more speed and overtake easily. The positions remained the same, due to limited overtaking opportunities and Marcus won the race less than a second ahead of Jehan. Richard Verschoor came in third a further 1.1 seconds behind Jehan. Interestingly three different Formula 1 Team’s Academy racers completed the podium in race 1.
“It has been an excellent start to the season. I was quick straightaway and I am happy with the double pole earlier today. There was nothing I could do at the restart due to the slip stream that Marcus had from my car and I had to settle for second.” said Jehan who will contest another two races tomorrow.
Ruapuna Park incidentally, is the same venue where Jehan won his maiden race in Formula Cars, a year ago. Jehan will start fifth in Race 2 as per the reverse grid rules and Pole for Race 3.